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Highlands again searching for football head coach as James decides to remain at Franklin County

By Don Owen
NKyTribune sports editor

Two days after officially introducing Eddie James as its new football head coach, Highlands is again searching for someone to lead the Bluebirds on the gridiron.

James, who was officially introduced as the Highlands head coach on Sunday at a press conference in Fort Thomas, has instead decided to remain at Franklin County. James had been selected to replace Brian Weinrich as head coach at Highlands.

Franklin County coach Eddie James and quarterback Nick Broyles. (Nick Moore, 44 Sports Photography)

James said during his press conference on Sunday that “the outpouring of support and the things I’ve seen from the Fort Thomas community already tells me that this was a great decision.”

All that changed on Tuesday, when James reversed course and decided to stay at Franklin County, his alma mater.

“I am staying home,” James said on his social media, announcing his decision to remain at Franklin County. “I am not going anywhere. We have unfinished business at Franklin County.”

James had alerted his players on Saturday that he had accepted the coaching job at Highlands. A press conference was held on Sunday, and James became emotional while talking about his decision.

“It was hard for me leaving where I left because of the players,” James said of his Franklin County team during the press conference while holding back tears.

James is considered one of Kentucky’s top football coaches and has built Franklin County into a Class 4A power. He led Franklin County to a 9-2 record this fall. The Flyers advanced to the Class 4A state championship game and dropped a 31-28 decision in overtime to Boyle County.

The previous week, Franklin County stunned defending Class 4A state champion Johnson Central by a 20-12 score on the road in Paintsville. Franklin County also collected a 42-6 win at perennial powerhouse Louisville Central in the second round of the playoffs this season.

Instead of moving north to Fort Thomas, James will remain in Frankfort.

“I would like to formally apologize to everyone involved,” James said. “The initial decision made was for what most people conventionally consider to be their family. As things have unfolded, my family realized that our family includes more than myself, Nikki, Ava and Jax. Our family members also include (Franklin County players) Blair, DoDo, Kaden, OG, LeMarques, Taesean, Tyler, Nick, Jaizon and countless others.

“Our family has and continues to grow and today we are choosing that family. We’re not walking out on them. We will continue to choose them over and over again.”

The Highlands administration did not respond to a request for comment on James withdrawing from the coaching position.

Don Owen is sports editor of the Northern Kentucky Tribune. Contact him at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport.

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